Route53 Failover Mechanism!

Situation: you run your own website on an Amazon EC2 instance. Something happens: maybe the box runs out of resources (ddos, high traffic, you pick one!).
All of the sudden, your website is offline. Downtime means that Google will push it down in the ranking. So what do we do?.

Well, AWS Route53 has a new, and super cool mechanism, that allows you to set Health Checks. If the website doesn’t pass it, the DNS record will switch to a failover entry.

How can we achieve this?. Amazon itself posted a detailed guide here. Just for the record, here you will find details about when a website is considered healthy.

A couple details:

  1. I’ve used SiteSucker, a free OSX tool, that allows you to create a simple HTML backup. Running a static S3 backup is way cheaper than running two instances!.
  2. If your apache logfile grows **a lot** due to the HealthCheck hits, you can disable the logs, if the user agent is “Route 53”. Simply put the following in your .htaccess:

    [cc]SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent .*Route 53.* dontlog[/cc]

    Don’t forget about tweaking your apache file, to look like this:

    [cc]CustomLog logs/access_log common env=!dontlog[/cc]

This is just… sooooo cool!

Disabling Jetpack Stats

So… you just connected Jetpack to, and you can’t figure out how to disable the stats module… right?.

It’s fairly easy. Firt, head to the admin, an click ‘Jetpack’ on the left menu. Then, click the ‘Learn More’ button in the ‘WordPress Stats’ section. You should be seeing the following:


Notice the ‘Deactivate’ button that appeared, right by the ‘Learn More’ button?. Click it.

That’s it… WordPress Stats should be disabled by now!

We got a new domain!

Well, as you might have noticed, we’ve got a brand new domain:┬áThis is sort of an experiment to me, to see if rankings can actually improve by leaving behind the domain. (Since this site is written, essentially, in english, and is geotargetted for Argentina).


What was done in order to attempt to prevent drops in rankings?.

  1. 301 redirects from the old domain. How?. the .htaccess looks like this:[cc lang=”bash”]RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L][/cc]
  2. I’ve indicated Google Webmaster Tools that the website has been moved. Here are the details.
  3. I’ve crossed my fingers!

Stay tuned for updates!

Google Chrome: pageRank Tool

If you haven’t ever heard about it.. pageRank is one of the core components of it’s awesome algorithm. Roughly speaking, the concept is… you’re popular if people speaks about you. Right?. And if you’re popular, whatever you say should have a better ranking in google’s results.

Well, the idea is… there are several ‘root’ webpages that have a high pageRank (which is a number ranged from 0 to 10), and there is a formula to calculate the pagerank of a page.. based on the pagerank of the backlinks. It’s a graph.. and the pageRank flows from those ‘root webpages’.

So… this chrome plugin will help you check, seamlessly, the PR of any website you’re currently viewing. Why would you need that?. Simply curiosity… or SEO purposes. Of course!

GeoTargeting your Website

Suppose that you’ve got a chinese or italian domain name. And… for the sake of giving you an example, you wanna rank high in Argentina’s Google results.

As you may (or may not know), google has regional search results. If you launch ‘’ while you’re in Argentina, you’ll get redirected to ‘’, and the ‘’ webpages will have more weight in the search results.

Well… there is a secret to this!. You can specify what’s the ‘Target Country’ of a website. How?????….

First of all, you’ll need to setup your website in Google Webmaster Tools. It’s pretty easy. You’ll need to validate that the domain is actually yours (the easiest way is by uploading a file). After that..:

  1. Open Site Configuration.
  2. Click on the ‘Settings’ tab.
  3. Set the ‘Geographic Target’ to whatever you want!

This way, you can own a domain with any kind of termination, and you’ll be able to target a specific group of users. Your neighbors!